When you watch Keith Smith on film, there’s a lot to like about the way he plays.
You’ll quickly notice that he is, without a doubt, the best player on the San Jose State University defense. You’ll also notice that Smith attacks the ball carrier aggressively, and although I’d prefer that he get there prior to a positive gain by the offensive player, he is often the one that initiates contact. You’ll notice that Smith is very technical in his approach; he sees the target, hits the target, wraps up and brings the target down.
In 2013, Smith led the nation with 159 stops averaging 13.2 tackles per game. He became only the third FBS player in NCAA history to have two games of 20 or more tackles, and the first ever to do so in back-to-back games, recording 21 tackles at Minnesota and 20 against Utah State. He was also just the second San Jose State player to receive All-WAC honors four times.
Following the 2013 NFL Draft, Smith signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent, and has shown some promise in OTAs and minicamp; I’m actually excited to see what he can do when he takes the field because of the state that the Cowboys’ linebacking corps is in.
If I had to pick one weakness in his game, it has to be his straight-line speed, which is poor for a linebacker in this scheme. At his Pro Day, Smith recorded a 5.01 40-time, which might be the reason he went undrafted.
Smith has a legitimate shot at making the team, so I will be keeping an eye out for him during training camp as he tries to earn a roster spot.